Labour and Co-operative Member of
Parliament for Kemptown and Peacehaven

Moulescoomb Primary School

by Isaac Wright on 05.09.19 in Uncategorised
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Moulescoomb primary school is a key part of the local community. It is time to hand the running of the school back to the people who it matters to the most.
Moulescoomb primary school is a key part of the local community. It is time to hand the running of the school back to the people who it matters to the most.

A new campaign called the Hands Off Moulsecoomb Primary School campaign, has recently come to my attention and I feel it is we must all get behind.

You may have already heard that the Government is trying to force Moulsecoomb Primary School to become an academy school and join a private multi-academy trust. This is against the wishes of parents, staff, Brighton & Hove City Council, and me as your MP.

Let me be clear from the outset; after more than a decade of academy schools, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that academy school status improves education for children. In fact, there is evidence to show the opposite. Struggling schools improve faster and “Good” schools are more likely to stay that way if they do not become academies. To manufacture improvement, many academies push children that are struggling out of school. Over 50,000 children have been “off-rolled” by academies in the UK and no one knows where these children now are. We don’t want our children to be lost by the academy system like this.

What does this mean for Moulsecoomb Primary School?

If Moulsecoomb Primary School is forced to become an academy (which is a permanent and irreversible decision), this means the council will no longer have any say in how it is run and will remove voters influence at the ballot box over issues of education.

Additionally, rather than an elected governing body of local people, parents and staff making the important decisions about the running of the school, an unelected board of the academy will decide what is best for our children. Depending on which trust takes over, these people are likely to live outside of our community and even outside of Brighton & Hove.

Why is this happening?

In 2010, the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government decided to change the law to allow Ofsted-deemed “inadequate” schools to be forced to become academies. Again, despite evidence showing that this does nothing to improve education, and everything to waste public money and remove democratic accountability from schools.

Two years ago, our school was rated “requires improvement”, and after implementing all the recommendations and results improving, Ofsted returned in April this year and bizarrely deemed Moulsecoomb Primary as “inadequate”. I think this is totally unfair as the goalposts have clearly been moved. What Ofsted fails to recognise is that since 2010, the Government has cut our school’s
budget by £388,110. That equates to a £595 loss per pupil and has led to cuts in staffing and resources. Ofsted also fails to recognise that Moulsecoomb Primary School is in an area of deprivation, with higher than the national average of children




requiring free school meals, higher than the city average of children with English as an additional language and a higher number of children with additional needs compared with other schools – before mentioning its exceptional support for children with special educational needs.

These are a particular set of challenges that the school faces to fit into Ofsted’s narrow criteria of what a good school looks like. But Moulsecoomb Primary School is not “inadequate” or failing, and recent attainment data shows that results are on the rise, with improvements in Key Stage 1 and 2 SATs, despite devastating budget cuts.

Brighton & Hove City Council are committed to putting in the resources to help Moulsecoomb Primary School improve and were already doing so before Ofsted came in. I firmly believe that remaining in council control is in the best interests of our school and the children it serves, as the evidence shows, and I implore the Secretary of State for Education to rescind the academy order as his predecessors have done in at least 28 other cases in the last 3 years when schools have been able to demonstrate significant improvement. I’ve raised this in Parliament and continue to press the government on this. I hope common sense will prevail and this vital community school will be returned back to the local people and council.

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Labour and Co-operative Member of
Parliament for Kemptown and Peacehaven

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